The 9th Company
|The 9th Company|
|Directed by||Fedor Bondarchuk|
|Written by||Yuri Korotkov|
|Music by||Dato Evgenidze|
|Edited by||Igor Litoninsky|
|Distributed by||Art Pictures Group|
The 9th Company (Russian: 9 Рота) is a 2005 Russian war film directed by Fedor Bondarchuk and set during the Soviet–Afghan War. The film is loosely based on a real-life battle that took place at Elevation 3234 in early 1988, during the last large-scale Soviet military operation (Magistral) in Afghanistan.
At a farewell ceremony in Krasnoyarsk, a band of young Soviet Army recruits is preparing for their departure to their place of military service. On arrival at their bootcamp in the Fergana Valley of Uzbekistan they meet their drill instructor, Senior Praporschik Dygalo, a seasoned, traumatized veteran of several tours in Afghanistan and a brutal trainer who treats the recruits harshly and at one time suffers a nervous breakdown. During their training, the recruits overcome their differences and build bonds. Between the training sessions, they receive lessons in operating plastic explosives (which prompts some comic relief) and how to conduct themselves in Afghanistan (underlining the vast cultural differences between Western and Afghan culture).
On their arrival at Baghram air base they greet a group of VDV troops who have fulfilled their military service and are due to return home. One of the departing soldiers gives one of the new arrivals, Lyutyi, a talisman that he claims has kept him safe through several tours and multiple firefights. Homeward bound, the departing soldier's transport plane is hit by enemy fire from the nearby mountains and crashes, giving the new recruits their first taste of war.
Shortly thereafter, the soldiers are assigned to the 9th company, where their trainer and drill instructor, Dygalo, had previously served. The company is soon deployed to the front as part of Operation Magistral and is instructed to hold a nameless hill at all costs. After some preliminary skirmishes, the company's position comes under sustained attack by a large number of Mujahedin fighters and is overrun. In the end, the company holds the hill until reinforcements arrive, by which time seemingly only Lyutyi is still alive.
In the film, only one soldier from the company is shown to have survived unscathed and the company is said to have been "forgotten" by command because of the Soviet withdrawal. In reality, the 9th Company, 345th Independent Guards Airborne Regiment was pinned down under heavy fire on Hill 3234 from 7–8 January 1988. They managed to stop three attacks by an estimated 200-250 mujahideen. The company lost a total of 6 men. Another 28 out of the total 39 were seriously wounded. Four of the killed soldiers were posthumously awarded the golden star of the Hero of the Soviet Union. The unit was in constant communication with headquarters and received everything the regimental commander, Colonel Valery Vostrotin, could provide in terms of rations, ammunition, reinforcements, and helicopter evacuation of the wounded.
- Artur Smolyaninov as Private then Sergeant Oleg Lutaev (Lyutyy)
- Aleksey Chadov as Private Volodya Vorobiev (Vorobey)
- Konstantin Kryukov as Private Ruslan Petrovskyy (Dzhokonda)
- Ivan Kokorin as Private Chugainov (Chugun)
- Mikhail Evlanov as Private Ryabokon (Ryaba)
- Artyom Mikhalkov as Private Stasenko (Stas)
- Soslan Fidarov as Private Bigbulatov (Pinochet)
- Ivan Nikolaev as Seryy
- Mikhail Porechenkov as Senior Praporschik Alexandr Dygalo
- Fedor Bondarchuk as Warrant Officer Pogrebnyak (Khokhol)
- Dmitriy Mukhamadeev as Sergeant Afanasiev (Afanasiy)
- Irina Rakhmanova as Belosnezhka (Snow White girl)
- Amadu Mamadakov as Sergeant Kurbanhaliev (Kurbashi)
- Aleksandr Shein as Patefon (as Aleksandr Sheyn)
- Aleksei Kravchenko as Captain Bystrov
- Aleksandr Bas hirov as Pomidor
- Mikhail Olegovich Yefremov as Veteran, who gives talisman
- Stanislav Govorukhin as a training regiment commander
- Andrey Kras ko as unknown Colonel in Afgan
- Aleksandr Lykov as Major of combat engineers
- Aleksey Serebryakov as Reconnaissance Captain
- Oles Katsion as Mikhey
- Karen Martirosyan as Ashot
- Marat Gudiev as Akhmet
- Denis Moshkin as 'Chernyy aist' ('the Black Stork')
- Aleksandr Kucherenko as Barber
- Svetlana Ivanova as Olya
- Evgeniy Arutyunyan as Radioman
- Mikhail Vladimirov as Tank driver
- Mikhail Solodko as Military commissariat officer
The film received a mixed reaction from the veterans of that war, who pointed to a number of inaccuracies, but nevertheless, judging by ticket sales, was embraced by the general public, and even by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Although first released in 2005, and broadcast on TV in several nations, it was not released in the US until 2010 on DVD.
- Brazil 29 September 2005
- Belarus 29 September 2005
- Kazakhstan 29 September 2005
- Russia 29 September 2005
- Ukraine 29 September 2005
- Estonia 14 October 2005
- Finland 3 March 2006
- France 20 May 2006 (Cannes Film Festival)
- Sweden 11 October 2006 (DVD premiere)
- Poland 12 October 2006 (Warsaw International FilmFest)
- Poland 20 October 2006
- Philippines 3 November 2006 (Cinemanila Film Festival)
- UK 16 February 2007
- France 17 February 2007 (TV premiere)
- Argentina 18 June 2007 (DVD premiere)
- Belgium 12 September 2007
- Netherlands 26 February 2008 (DVD premiere)
- Germany 26 August 2008
- USA 31 August 2010 (DVD and Blu-ray Disc premiere)
In 2006, Russia selected the film as its candidate for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film nomination. It was also given the Golden Eagle Award for Best Feature Film by the Russian Academy of Cinema Arts.
- Schofield, The Russian Elite, Greenhill, 1993, pp. 120-125
- "Putin praise for Russian war film". BBC News. 8 November 2005.
- "Afghanistan War Movie Breaks Russian Box Office Record". Mosnews.com. 2005-10-05.[dead link]